Thailand: Gender in Thai

How Gender Affects the Thai Language

A curious aspect of the Thai language is how the words change depending on the gender of the person speaking. Don’t be surprised when you begin to notice the same sentence being spoken in different ways, depending on who is speaking.

Here is an example of how gender affects the way someone speaks. To be polite, at the end of every sentence:

Women say:

ka

Men say:

krap


Think of this as a way to “soften” your manners, and to speak much more politely. Thais don’t have a direct way of saying “please,” the way we do in English, when they want to ask for something politely. Instead, they add these words onto the end of a sentence to transform it into a much softer, more polite statement.

Example:


The words used to say “thank you” are “korp kun”.


Women say:

Korp kun ka.

Men say:

Korp kun krap.


Notice how the core of the sentence stays the same, it is only the ending that changes.


Build Good Habits


Make sure you get in the habit of putting ka or krap on the end of everything you say. Really, you can put it on the end of any sentence—it isn’t restricted to only questions or requests. You can never go wrong using the polite form!


Till next week, folks.
And remember, learning a new language is hard! Don’t forget to giggle at yourself when you know you got it wrong, and never give up!


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